Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Taking a break

I've been putting off this post for a little while now.  Lately, I've been struggling to be consistent with my blog posts. When I started the blog, my aim was to post something once a week, leading up to two posts per week. I've found posting just once a week a lot of work. It's actually felt like a chore. I have two young children to look after along with heaps of other commitments, so I'm really struggling to find the time to post content on my blog regularly.

So I've decided to stop blogging, for now. I'm hoping once the kids are older I'll have more time to really put 100% of myself into writing good quality content for you.
I'll continue to be active on my social media accounts, as I love posting pictures and sharing stuff with my readers.

You can follow me on Instagram
You can like my Facebook page
You can follow me on Twitter

This is not a goodbye, just a break for me to get my head around things until I can sit down and write things that I'm truly proud of.

See you around :-)

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Warming up, why do we do it?

Warming up. A vital part of any exercise. You warm up before a run, a swim, a bike. You warm up before you race. But why do we warm up? What are it's benefits? This week I'll be discussing why warming up is important, some ideas on how to warm up, why specificity is important in warm ups and I'll also go in to depth about my warm up challenge for October. 

Currently I walk for 3-5 minutes before I run. I rarely cool down, often I'll walk until I reach home. I try to then drink plenty of water and then shower. I don't stretch.

So, why is warming up important? Firstly, it's important to warm your muscles up before any exercise. Your body isn't ready to go from stationary and by not warming up, you risk becoming injured. Warming up delivers blood to your muscles so that they receive all the right components to move your body. Secondly, warming up is good for your mind. It helps prepare you for exercise and you can start getting yourself motivated while warming up. Cooling down is also important while exercising. It slowly helps your body prepare itself to change from moving back to stationary. This also helps to prevent injuries by stretching any areas that feel sore.

It is advisable to use dynamic stretching while you warm up instead of static stretching as it prepares your muscles for the correct movements that you'll be doing while exercising. This is where specificity comes in. It's important to warm up the muscles that you'll be using for your specific exercise.  For example, it's important to warm up your lower body and hips for running. And it's important to warm up both arms and legs for swimming. An easy warm up to do is to perform your chosen exercise but at a slower pace. For instance,  walking is a good warm up to lead onto running. This can also apply to other exercises, pedaling slowly for a cycling warm up, and swimming at a slow pace to lead into faster swimming. 

Next, I'll go into detail about a running warm up that I used to do before every run. I was encouraged to do this warm up by my physiotherapist as I was prone to Achilles tendon pain and lower leg pain. First, I would get a skipping rope and jump for 1 minute (see Picture A). This quickly got my heart rate elevated and the muscles in my legs warm. I would then stand in front of a pole and do leg swings across my body, 10 on each leg (see Picture B). I would then do leg swings from front to back, 10 on each leg (see Picture C). I then would quickly swing my arms side to side to warm up my upper body, particularly my back. And then I was away running. This warm up would only take me 2 minutes but it was enough to get me warm and my body ready for running.

Picture A

Picture B

Picture C

So what am I aiming for?

1. Warm up at home before every run
2. Dynamic stretches/skipping before every run
3. Cool down properly
4. Stretch and ice if necessary
5. Make sure I'm eating the right foods for recovery

My warm up challenge for the month of October

Week 1- focus on warm up
From 1st to 7th October, I will focus on doing a warm up of some sort before every run this week. I won't worry about quality or quantity, more so to focus on starting a new routine.

Week 2- try something new for warm up
From 8th to 14th October I will incorporate something new into my warm up. I will need to do some research to see what other exercises I could include in a warm up to make sure there is some variety.

Week 3- focus on cool down
From 15th to 21st October I will focus on doing a cool down of some sort after every run this week. I won't worry about quality or quantity, more so to focus on starting a new cool down routine.

Week 4- try something new for cool down
From 22nd to 28th October I will incorporate something new into my cool down. I will do some more research to see what other exercises I could include in a cool down to make sure I continue with variety.

How will I know if it's working well or not?

I'll hopefully know my warm up is working well for me if I'm able to get up to a comfortable pace quicker than with no warm up. Often when I haven't warmed up, I get a few pains in my lower legs and I take longer to get up to my preferred pace. I think having an appropriate warm up will make me feel excited and ready for my run. It will also set up a good routine for my body and mind to prepare itself for a run. I'm hoping a thorough cool down will result in less soreness after a run and will make sure my body is ready for the next run.

What do you do for your warm up and cool down?

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Post race slump, what can I do now?!

It's been a little while since my last post. I was on such a high after my race in Whangamata and excited to write my race recap, I've now gotten into a bit of a slump. I've lost my running and blogging mojo! But, I've been searching for my next race, and I've been overwhelmed with all the choices. I'm one of those runners that train to race, I can't run unless I've got something to aim for. So I thought I'd share with you some of the races I'm rather keen to enter, my goal times for those races, my training plan, and also some other general goals.

Thames Save the Children fun run on 16th November

"The annual Thames Save the Children's Fun Run includes half marathon, 10km and 5km runs or walks so that all family members can participate. All events start and finish at the Thames Rugby and Sports Club, Rhodes Park, Thames.
The 10km and 5km courses follow the walkway along the waterfront towards Kuranui Bay. 5km participants will go to the bird hide on the walkway and return and 10km participants to Kuranui Bay and back. The half marathon is on the Hauraki Rail Trail."*

I'm thinking I'll enter the 10km race. Ive run this course a couple of times, and being local, I'm very interested in participating in this race. The majority of this course is on footpath, so I'd like to run this race is 1 hour 10 minutes.

Tauranga trail run on 23rd November

"The Smiths Sports Shoes Tauranga Trail Run is a fundraising event for the Tauranga Boys' College Cross Country team, with 100% of profits going to local school groups. The event takes place at the TECT All Terrain Park, located up Pyes Pa Road, only 25 minutes from downtown Tauranga.
The course is an interesting mixture of gravel road, 4WD access, MTB track and walking trail based around the awesome beauty of the Te Rerenga Track and Tunnel. The undulating loop sees participants cross beautiful streams and picturesque bridges, pass an impressive, mature rimu grove and reach a summit with breathtaking views across to Mt. Tarawera, Mt. Ngongotaha, Mt. Edgecumbe and Mt. Maunganui."*

I'm really keen to enter a trail race and this event sounds awesome. We have family in Tauranga,  so we have somewhere to stay,  and can also do some visiting during the weekend. The distance options are 30km, 15km, 10km and 5km. I'm hoping to get some trail runs into my training, I'm unsure whether I'll enter the 5 or 10km, depending on how my training goes.

Worldwide companion 5km on 28th November

"The 4th Worldwide Companion Run is at 5pm GMT on November 27th 2014. This is 6am on November 28th in New Zealand daylight savings time.
It started in 2011 when Ash (one of the Wellington Running Meetup (WoRM) organisers) went away for 6 months and really missed running with the group. One day, they had an idea. Why not run at the same time just in different locations? They soon realised that this could in fact, be something really cool. That's how Worldwide Companion Run was born.
The concept is very simple:
Wherever you are at 5pm GMT on the 27th of November 2014, run or walk 5km.
The choice of the route is up to you.
Get some friends to join you and make it funky. Yes, funky.
Take some photos/videos of your run and share them with other runners from around the globe. Show us your running reality!
How do you join in the fun?
Spread the word by creating a Worldwide Companion Run event in your Meetup on 27th or 28th November (depending on where around the globe you are).
Join the event on Facebook - this is the event's headquarters.
Joining the event on Facebook will keep you in the loop and that's where we'll be posting the photos, videos and much more!
We need your help to create a massive running movement! Some speculate that we could even move the Earth!
Who's behind WCR?
This event is organised entirely by WoRM runners for runners - no fees, no sponsors, no entry forms. Just you and the rest of the world. Together. Join in, pass it on and get involved. Whether you do it alone or with a group of 100+... the more the merrier!"*

I really like the concept of this, and I'm hoping to rope some other people in Ngatea to join me, maybe! Only issue is that I'm not a morning person, so actually doing the running at 6am will be a challenge in its own! Anyone else heard of this event? Will you join me, where ever in the world you are?

Tauranga Half marathon on 12th April 2015

"The Tauranga Half Marathon, 14km, 7km and 1 mile on road has scenic courses that take in numerous local parks, reserves and walkways. It is fully on-road in the CBD and along the seaside."*

This isn't far from where we have some family living, so thought this would be more convenient than the Rotorua marathon in May. Depending how my training goes, I'd enter the 7km, but it's too far away to really make a goal time. I could even consider doing the 14km if my training goes well and I'm adding plenty of long runs.

Rotorua off road half marathon on 8th March 2015

"The Rotorua Off Road Half Marathon is an annual event at the spectacular Whakarewarewa Forest. Event options include the half marathon, quarter marathon and 5K; and 3K and 1.5K "Little Devils" kids events.
The half marathon course follows a mixture of smooth gravel forest roads and scenic forest trails and is made up of a 10km loop followed by an 11.1km loop, designed to be achievable by competitors of all abilities."*

I really like the sound of this event, especially if I really enjoy the Tauranga off road event in November. I would do this instead of the Rotorua marathon in May. I'd enter the the quarter marathon,  I think is definitely achievable for an off road event,  but it will of course change depending on my training. I could make this my first half marathon?!

Training plan 

I will need to start increasing my long runs up to 10/12km.  I will also need to start incorporating a trail run here and there, slowly increasing this to one/two runs a week. With daylight savings around the corner, I'm hoping to get back into my old routine of running in the evening once the kids are in bed. This will give me more opportunities to run, so hoping this will result in 3 to 4 runs per week. I'm also starting to atrend a weekly Pump class on Saturday mornings. I'm sure this will help my running! 

Other goals 

1. Drinking 8 glasses/2 litres of water per day
I want to get a decent drink bottle so that I can carry one around with me. Currently I'm using a pump bottle and I'm often not drinking any water at all. Water will help with my training and I'll feel a lot better being well hydrated.

2. Alternating hot chocolate with peppermint tea at night

I have been getting into a terrible habit of having a hot chocolate every night with a couple of biscuits.  Often a habit I pick up during the cold winter months, I've currently started drinking peppermint tea. I want to start with alternating between the two, eventually cutting the hot chocolate out all together.

3. Find some clean baking to do

I really would like to clean up our family meals. I think by starting with my baking is a lot more achievable than going completely clean. I often bake biscuits or muffins once a week. I'd like to find some recipes that are clean and healthier- top of the list is bliss balls!

4. Explore some more trails, go hiking with the family

Now that the weather is warming up and the days are getting longer, I'd really love to start exploring some more local trails. For now, I'm aiming to take my daughter on a Wednesday while my son is at kindy. I'm hoping my Ergo baby carrier will see us through some lovely long hikes in the Karangakake Gorge and Kauaeranga Valley. 

What are your next set of goals? What gets you through a post race slump? 

*Event information from

Monday, 8 September 2014

Whangamata Walk Run Festival 2014 5km race recap

I recently ran the race I've been training for the last 6 months or so, the Whangamata run walk festival on the 6th September. I'd heard that the weather was going to be overcast, perfect weather for a race!

I had a pretty good sleep the night before, I'm usually up 3 or 4 times to my 1 year old daughter (nickname, Missy). But she treated me to only 1 wake up, so when my alarm went off at 6.30am , I was surprisingly feeling nice and refreshed! My son (nickname, EP) was awake also, so I got us both some breakfast ready and turned the tv on for him. I decided to have my usual peanut butter on toast and thought I'd have a glass of water with it, but then I really wanted and needed my cup of coffee! I watched tv with my son while also quickly checking up on Facebook. After I'd finished my breakfast, I went and got dressed, I'd set out my racing outfit the night before so that I was all organised. I tied up my hair into a pony and then plaited it, my go to hair style at the moment. My partner (Mr J) and I quickly got the kids dressed and bags packed. I filled up my drink bottle and put it in the front of the ute and strapped the kids in. I was starting to feel really nervous now and wished I was driving over so I had a distraction.  The weather was cloudy and overcast,  but once we reached Kopu, it started to lightly drizzle and we could see that it was raining on the Kopu-Hikuai road. We were trying to stay positive by saying that the weather could be completely different in Whangamata.  I was now slightly panicking as the jacket I chose to wear didn't zip up and would be totally unsuitable, I'd plan to ditch the jacket before the race. We got a call from my mother in law to say she heard on the radio that the school grounds were quite wet and muddy, no mention of the word rain though. We arrived into Whangamata,  the rain still light and drizzly. We saw lots of volunteers setting up signs and water stations for the half marathon. We found a park on the outskirts of the school field, right on the road where the 5km starts, perfect!

I walked over the field towards the school hall to pick up my race number and race pack, leaving the family in the dryness of the ute. The grass was very soggy and muddy already and it was still drizzling. I received my race number after stating my name to the right volunteer and shown where I could go to put on my number. There was a little table set up with pins for the race numbers and ties for our timing chips. There was also a shoe on display to show us how to put the timing chip on, excellent! I noticed some maps up of the race course, and as I couldn't view these on line before hand,  I quickly made my way over. I was relieved to see that the course was the same as when I did it 4 years ago, so I was quite confident I knew where to go. I was thinking it'll be best for me to stay in the hall then at least I was dry, but I thought it'll be easier to pick up my race pack and take it back to the ute, along with my phone. I got to the ute and nervously decided that my race number wasn't pinned on right so got Mr J to help me redo it. I glanced at the time and saw it was 9.20, better get to the star line soon. I kissed the family goodbye as they wished me good luck. And lucky for me the start line wasn't far away. It then dawned on me that I hadn't really warmed up. Yes, I'd done a little but of walking, but not a lot.  Crap, what should I do? Lots of other people were already lining up, so I joined them and was near the front. I did a couple of stretches,  focusing on my lower legs as they are usually what gets sore first. I was looking around, trying to kill time, seeing if I can spot any familiar faces. It was quickly countdown time, the drizzling had cleared and we were off!

It seemed like there was A LOT of people passing me (FYI,  don't line up at the front of the pack next time!) but I was trying hard not to over pace like so many people do (I'm guilty of that). I yelled out and waved to EP when I passed the ute, he looked at me blankly, there were a sea of runners going passed! I reached the end of the road, and there was a great big puddle, so I ran onto the footpath around the corner. I was running along the left side of the road and a lot of runners were crossing the road ahead, so I drifted over too and went up on the footpath to run. We went right onto Ocean Rd, where we came across some of the 10km runners. I spotted Nicole,  who I went to school with and yelled out to her, but she was wearing ear phones so didn't hear me. I later heard from Mr J that she was the first woman in the 10km,  so well done Nicole! 

I continued to run down Ocean Rd,  mostly on the road with a bunch of other runners. I started to feel a bit sore, I think we were 2km in now. The runner in front of me was wearing bright pink shoes with bright yellow socks. Awesome,  something for me to focus on to take my mind off my aching legs. We got to the Dairy on the corner and I knew there wasn't far to go. I got to the round about at the end of Patuwai Dr and followed other runners for awhile as they were running at a great pace for me. We got onto Otahu Rd and a lovely runner said hello to me and we talked briefly before we spotted a water station at the 4km mark, yay! I stopped and walked, trying to slowly sip (gulp!) the water. I started running again but felt like I was going to vomit, so I stopped and walked until I got to the corner by Achilles Ave where I knew the school was just around the corner. It started to lightly rain now but was relieved that there was a bit of down hill ahead. Around the corner though was a slight incline up to the school field. I kept telling myself that it's nearly over and to keep pushing on. I got onto the field and found it really hard to run as it was very wet and muddy from other runners. I saw my family and waved out to them as I finished the last stretch with a bit of a sprint! I quickly looked at the clock and saw 33, so was pretty happy! I stopped suddenly but then dry retched a couple of times, ops, maybe that was too much! I found a lovely volunteer by a bench who then took off my timing chip and pointed me in the direction to take my race number off. Another lovely volunteer handed me a cup of some sort of drink, hmmm sugar! Just what I needed as I quickly perked up. Mr J and the kids were waiting for me but we quickly made our way back to the ute as we were all getting cold and wet from the rain. We headed to Port Rd bakery as we were all starving by now. I got a chicken salad bun but soon felt sick sitting down in the warmth. So I got up and walked outside in the rain for a bit. I walked down towards Barbara Ave and watched a few of the half marathon runners go by. We got back to the ute and drove home, we saw lots of runners still out and I joked that'll be me next year.

We were back home by midday, it was a nice outing but I was a little disappointed that the weather stopped us from sticking around for longer. I'll be back next year running either the 10km or half marathon!

Start of the 5km, can you spot me?
My official results off the website:
Time 33:27
Placed 83/275 overall
Placed 13th in Female 20-34 category

Monday, 1 September 2014

My favourite... Food!

This week, I thought I would cover a popular topic with all runners. Food! I'm going to cover two different options that I love to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

First up is dinner, I often like to make meals that will last my family more than one night. I also like to create meals that I can add a variety of vegetables. 

Mince chow mein
My favourite dinner, I can sneak lots of vegetables in this and it can last us two nights. It's the only way we use cabbage in our household too.

Pad thai

I order this when we dine out at our local Thai restaurant. Now I've found a yummy recipe I can make at home.

Next is lunch. I often need to make something quick and tasty as often the children are tired and want to get to bed soon after lunch. I often make pancakes or pasta for my children too, plain pasta is the most favourite lunch for them. Cheap and easy!

Brown rice and tuna
A quick and easy lunch, I buy the bags of rice that only take 90 seconds in the microwave. I also add a small tin of tuna, usually lemon pepper flavoured.

Wholemeal wrap with lettuce, tomato, carrot, capsicum and tuna
Something I've just started having again,  was an old favourite and one day I just felt like something fresh and yummy.

Breakfast can be a hectic time in our household, we often rush out the door with it half eaten. Or often if we are staying home, I let the kids snack through out the morning.

Quick oats
This tastes yummy and is nice and warming on a cold miserable winters morning. I buy the sachets that only take 90 seconds in the microwave. It's great that they come in a variety of flavours and the kids wolf it down!

Peanut butter on toast
Peanut butter on toast, quick and easy, my go to breakfast! This is also my race or training day breakfast.

I have also included a couple of my favourite snacks. We often have a morning and afternoon snack in our household due to the children being hungry (all the time!).

Mixed nuts, dried cranberries and dark chocolate with a coffee

A yummy snack, only a handful is enough. I buy from the bins at my local supermarket. I generally only have one coffee in the morning with my breakfast,  but sometimes if I'm struggling to get through a long afternoon, a coffee helps!

Carrot, Kumara and pumpkin hummus with a glass of water

A refreshing snack that's easy to prepare if you keep cut up carrot in a cup of water in your fridge. I also love to use celery instead of carrot, and I also like to use plain hummus too.

What are your favourite meals? Any easy clean meal ideas you have that I could incorporate into my family's menu?

Monday, 25 August 2014

My progress so far and future goals

It's less than two weeks until my big race in Whangamata! So I thought I'd update you with my progress so far and what my plans are for after the race.

So, how's my training going? I'm running 5km once to twice a week. I'm finding it easier to run 5km, it doesn't seem as far as I used to think it was. I ran 8km a couple of weeks ago and felt really good, I feel like I have pushed passed that mental block of struggling to run over 5km. I'm getting nervous about racing and the pressure I've put on myself in regards to the time I'm aiming for. I'm trying to focus on having fun and spending a day with the family, I'm really glad my family will be there to support me.

What are my future goals? I really want to focus on consistency and slowly increasing my distance. I want to do some training off road for a change of scenery.

I'm looking at entering the quarter marathon race in Rotorua, I've considered entering this as my next or future race. I've got the support from my partner, as we'll book in a family holiday for the same weekend. If you're interesting in competing in this race you can check out their website here.

I'd like to also enter a trail race once I've established my off road training, something that is local and less than 10 km. I'll have to do some research soon to see what's coming up.

How will I change my training after the Whangamata race?  I'll aim to do my weekend/long run off road,  or maybe I need to alternate between on road and off road.
I also want to start focusing on my eating habits and to look into incorporating clean recipes as dinner options

The last time I ran the 5km at Whangamata
What are some yummy clean recipes that I can sneak in front of my fussy family? Do you know of any cool races coming up in the next 6 months that you think I should enter?

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

My hometown bucket list

This week I'm sharing with you my hometown bucket list! There are three trails nearby that I haven't fully explored yet, and I want to tick them off my bucket list. So for the next few months, I'd like to try a new trail out every couple of weeks. I'll do a new blog post as I tick these trails off my list, so keep tuned!

Karangahake Gorge is between Paeroa and Waihi and has some stunning walkways. This area is rich in goldmining history. Is takes me approximately 30 minutes to drive here, so definitely local for me. I have done the Windows walk a few times and also attempted to walk to the top of Mt. Karangakake but was totally unprepared. It's something I would love to try and get to the top of soon! I would like to explore the rail trail parts of the gorge and also to go through this long walkway tunnel people tell me about. 

Karangakake Gorge.  Image credit-

Kauaeranga Valley is by the township of Thames, so is around a 30 minute drive for me also. I have walked to the Pinnacles a couple of times but have never done any of the shorter trails. I'm definitely motivated to explore these shorter tracks.

The view of Kauaeranga Valley from Thames

Rail trail from Thames to Paeroa. I have walked from Kopu (a 10 minute drive for me) to Thames. I would like to start exploring south, heading towards Paeroa. It's quite far,  so I'll have to split it into smaller sections for me to explore.

Rail trail between Thames and Kopu

So where are your favourite trails to run?